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A Tale of a Tub and Other Works (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  528 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
This volume contains the three works which together make up Jonathan Swift's early satiric and intellectual masterpiece, A Tale of a Tub: the Tale itself, The Battel of the Books, and The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit. Incorporating much new knowledge, this 2010 edition provides the first full scholarly treatment of this important work for fifty years. The introductio ...more
Hardcover, 594 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1704)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,193)
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Bill  Kerwin

"The Tale of a Tub" is a strange work, and certainly not to everyone's taste. The heart of it is a satirical religious allegory demonstrating that, of the three sons of the Father (God), Martin (the representative of the mainstream protestant Lutheran/Anglican tradition) is by far the most reasonable. His attempt to carry out his Father's Will (the message of scripture) by pruning the absurdly lavish alterations his older brother Peter (Roman Catholicism) has made to the Coat his Father gave him
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Jun 25, 2014 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis marked it as i-want-money
This Cambridge edition edited by Marcus Walsh is the critical edition of A Tale of the Tub recommended by Steven Moore. The Cambridge edition of Swift’s work is in 18 volumes. Moore discusses The Tub in The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600-1800, pages 634-642. “The most inventive, profound, and mindblowing novel of this time.”

In keeping with my Moore-lists of generation ::

The Tub’s predecessors ;;
Petronius
Rabelais
Cervantes
Dunton [ie, Voyage round the World]

Following in the wake of The Tub ;;
...more
kasia
Apr 09, 2008 kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dazzling display of wit, but so dry as to stick in the throat a bit, despite occasional flights of whimsy. Having been removed from its immediate context by the passage of centuries, its ironies are to be appreciated rather than enjoyed.
Tracey  Wilde
Eh ? If I hadn't picked a copy with explanatory notes I wouldn't have understood this at all.
I can see what Swift is getting at and I'm sure it was hilarious at the time.
Clever but not for me.
Laura
a religious satrical allegory. very hard to follow.
B.C. Brown
A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift is quite possibily some of the best satirical work I've read. An easy historical index at the beginning helps those who may not be as familiar with Irish and European history as others. Indeed the entire introduction gives the reader an informative set up for the anthology.

Only a passerby to Swift's work, Tale of a Tub was delightful. Tongue in cheek satire directed mostly toward the noble and royal classes with direct insights to daily life. But Swift was not a
...more
Julie
Jonathan Swift is a brilliant satirist and if I was a contemporary of Swift's or aware of the issues he was mocking, then I might have enjoyed this book. Instead, this short book is filled with long digressions mocking organized religion or possibly government. I have to admit that about half way through I was completely lost and really not following his mockery.

If I had been reading this book in print, I would have saved my place with a bookmark and put it back on the shelf to revisit later, ma
...more
Jeremy
Read for my English Religious Authors seminar at Baylor with Dr. Kevin Gardner (Summer 2014). Includes "The Battle of the Books" and "The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit."

2: defense of satire (cf. Bunyan, Hawthorne, and Wilson?)
18: Hobbes's Leviathan
23: satire needs to be direct
35: church chases after pop culture
72: memory and commonplace books
111: stealing
Asa
Apr 11, 2011 Asa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I would have enjoyed this book much more if it wasn't for three things: 1) Swift's endless digressions (which I realize were made for a reason, to mock other writers), which brings me to 2) the fact that I don't know enough about the things Swift satirized to appreciate what I'm sure were very good points, and 3) Swift is too aggressive for my taste. I get the feeling that in real life he would be one of those people who would make every discussion into a verbal battle and not be satisfied until ...more
Chris
Sep 10, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While there were some parts that I found quite amusing as Swift poked fun at the foibles of the catholic church and protestant churches of his day, too much of it was context based and hard to decipher. Even using the footnotes, I find that no one today seems to understand what he meant by many of his satirical comments. I'm sure this was hilarious in his day, but just too far removed for me to enjoy it too much.
Sabine
Dec 31, 2013 Sabine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dit is één van de twee boeken die ik in mijn hele leven níét uitgelezen heb. En het ligt deels aan mij. Ik snapte 'm gewoon niet. Maar omdat ik niet dom ben (al zeg ik het zelf) ligt het toch ook voor een deel aan Jonathan Swift. Vandaar de rating van twee sterren.
Erica
". . . reason is certainly in the right , and that in most corporeal beings which have fallen under my cognizance, the outside hath been infinitely preferable to the in; wherof I have been further convinced from some late experiments. Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse" (84).
Elaine
Feb 10, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: february, 1001btrbyd, 2009
A satire within a satire, this is book that would most likely bloom within the context of a class discussion. While a sufficient amount of the satire translated across the centuries, I'm sure that some knowledge of events taking place during the writing of this tale would have revealed more depth to the text than I was aware of.
Kristin
Swift slays me (and not in a good way most of the time. Unless he's talking about vapours - that's good stuff). This is wonderfully post-modern-ish (though obviously 18th century) and digressive, if that's what you're into - I'm not today, sadly.
Scotty
Apr 27, 2014 Scotty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Often a satire's power is diminished, relevant only to its time, but Swift's wit and sarcasm in which he attacks scientific and religious institutions makes this story a good read still today.
Tony Laplume
Extremely interesting but also esoteric and drastically more limited in lasting appeal than Swift's more famous Gulliver's Travels. Basically the equivalent of Internet chatter in his day.
meredith
Sep 14, 2007 meredith rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know that it's important...and I know that it's not supposed to make a lot of sense...but I think that I could have better spent my time reading a different Swift piece.
Cynthia Garza
I read these at university and enjoyed them. Most of the stuff I read at university was to be worked thru and appreciated, but not enjoyed. Thsee tales I enjoyed.
Craig
The "Tale" shines in all its satirical glory, but did not evoke as much laughter as "A Modest Proposal" did (which was included at the end of the volume I read).
Rachel
Aug 23, 2007 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Irish lit. readers; postcolonial lit. readers; religion readers
Swift was a religious (and ethnic) bigot, but his book sheds light on the religious and political conflicts of the eighteenth century in Ireland and Great Britain.
Nolan
Feb 16, 2008 Nolan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I dropped out of the class halfway into this book. I have a great appreciation of Swift; I just hope I never have to read another book by him. :)
Myles
Sep 03, 2012 Myles rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uc-berkeley
An allegory that's fun to decode, Swift's tub is also terribly segmented and full of digressions that are just plain annoying.
Andrew
Dec 19, 2013 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction, 18th-century
Nothing against Swift, who has written a lot of great works. I just didn't find this one particularly interesting.
bobroxxu
Swift has many diversions while telling a story. I am having difficulty keeping focused on it.
Alexandria Peter
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Marya
Feb 17, 2008 Marya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-lit
You know, there's a reason Swift isn't best remembered for this book.
Joseph
Jun 26, 2007 Joseph added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers
more fun than "Gulliver" in a lot of ways.
Hashi
A Tale of a Tub ... no thanks.
Danielle
Jul 13, 2007 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
<3
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1831
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift published al ...more
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“These reasonings will furnish us with an adequate definition of a true critic: that he is a discoverer and collector of writers’ faults. Which may be farther put beyond dispute by the following demonstration: that whoever will examine the writings in all kinds, wherewith this ancient sect has honoured the world, shall immediately find, from the whole thread and tenor of them, that the ideas of the authors have been altogether conversant and taken up with the faults and blemishes, and oversights, and mistakes of other writers; and let the subject treated on be whatever it will, their imaginations are so entirely possessed and replete with the defects of other pens, that the very quintessence of what is bad does of necessity distil into their own, by which means the whole appears to be nothing else but an abstract of the criticisms themselves have made.” 2 likes
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